Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Detemination

This little guy is growing right in front of the garage door. Every time we go somewhere we drive over her. Obviously the wheel doesn't run her over but she can't get too large because she's hit the undercarriage. She doesn't care. She's an annual. She gets one chance to reproduce and dammit, she's going to give it her best shot.


Determination, indeed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tomato Update

My tomatoes are doing very well. I'm picking (and eating) daily.


My favorite variety this year is called Sunchocola (from Burpee). Delicious flavor and unusual dark "chocolate" color.


Most of my varieties have produced at least SOME fruit, a few are not yet ripe.


Soon I'll have to start freezing some for the winter (gosh, darn, fresh from the vine, frozen tomatoes do great in chili and spaghetti sauce and soups all winter).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Science Sunday

[Because The Husband is probably tired of me yelling this at the TV]

Morgan Freeman Picture
(image from IMDb)

"Humans only use 10% of their Brains"

WRONG.

If Humans only used part of their brains than problems that physically damage the brain, like strokes and Alzheimer's, wouldn't be such a big deal.

Why would our brains be so large if we only needed something 10% of the size? The brain uses 20 - 25% of the body's energy (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7282965). Wouldn't evolution have chosen to use that energy to make us stronger or faster to get away from predators? Or to fly? I'd like to be able to fly. [Then I wouldn't have to deal with the TSA]

I think Tree Lobsters summed it up best:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

To-Do list for late summer

I have a few problem areas that need new plants once the weather cools off enough to plant again...

This is the end of the Hell Strip by the driveway. The problem here is that the woman who plows our driveway also plows up anything I plant here. Since our driveway was badly torn up by her plow last winter we're thinking of getting a snow blower and doing our own driveway so I might be able to plant something there again. Or I could just put annuals there.


This spot just needs another lavender to go with the two on either side that I space as far apart as the label recommended. I guess the label was designed for people who like spaces between their plants. That would not be me.


I have a nice Helenium Mardi Gras that ended up behind some larger plants. The "grass" area needs to be pulled back about a foot when I install the brick border that I'm slowly putting around all my gardens.

This may look full but it's mostly "wild" violets. I let them act as a ground cover in part because they are easy to remove and they'll keep down more difficult weeds. I had a nice patch of Perovskia [Russian sage] here that died back last winter. The question is do I try again? It seems to do well in this area and I'm not sure why it died back...


This area is particularly problematic. You can't tell but it's full of tree roots and nothing likes to grow there. Even the "wild" violets are stunted looking. Some Liatris has volunteered for the area and I may let it take over (in fact I may spread seeds when my other plants go to seed this fall).


This one is an easy solution. My Campanula Pink Octopus has spread very well and it will fit nicely into this narrow space between my Aster October Skies and the sidewalk and they bloom at different times of the year. [The Aster name may be Symphyotrichium depending on who you ask. I'm going with Aster because it's easier to spell]

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pollinator Party Friday

It's peak summer and my garden is full of...








POLLINATORS


and Predators...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Favorite Plant of the Week AND Favorite Native Plant of the Month - Liatris Spicata

My favorite plant in the garden this week is Liatris spicata. The variety I bought years ago is Kobold.


The first  year or two it was a bit leggy and floppy but it's become a nice thick, strong clump.


It does spread in the garden but the seedlings are easy to remove if you catch them early.


And the native pollinators love it.

Zones: 3 to 8
Height: In my yard it's 2 to 3 feet (taller than the label claims)
Spread: about 1 foot, although if it reseeds right by the parent plant you can end up with a cluster of plants wider than this
Sun: Full to mostly full sun. In part shade they do tend to be floppier but they still bloom
Water: I don't water mine at all
Bloom period: July and August

Danger Garden hosts the Favorite Plant in The Garden Meme
Clay and Limestone hosts Wildflower Wednesday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pot Party Friday!

I like using potted plants in the garden. I'm pretty happy with how mine have worked out this year.


Unfortunately I prefer large pots but I live in an area with freezing winters and there is a limit to what I can carry. I have two of these. They are plastic and were cheap so if they freeze and crack during the winter it's not a big deal. I like the way they look but I may need to do something different next year - the palms are getting sunburned.


My driveway is just a little bit wider than it needs to be. Not wide enough for two cars but definitely room for a car and a motorcycle to park side by side.

We don't have a motorcycle.

So I potted up a variety of herbs and lined the driveway. I've done this for the past few years but I'm finally starting to feel like it's getting "there." I like the large number of different sized pots and the different textures and colors of plants.

Well, maybe it could use a few more pots next year...


Lastly, the front porch pots. I have two of these, one on each side of the front door. I wish I could take credit for the mix of plants but I bought them as a pot grouping from White Flower Farm

I'm just starting to experiment with mixing plants in pots. I've seen plenty of bad combinations, where one plant outgrows everything else. This combination is growing together nicely.